Welcome to Vanquish the Foe. We believe that we can become the best community of BYU Cougar fans on the web. I've put together this post (using the guide at Tomahawk Nation as a template) to help our newer members understand how the site operates and hopefully improve everyone's experience.
Inside, you will find our Community Guidelines, and explanations on how to use the sites features. Again, we're glad you found us and we hope you return often...
Vanquish the Foe, aka "VTF" is intended to feel primarily democratic, and most of the unwritten rules come by way of self-government by the community. These few official guidelines have been created and exist for a singular purpose: to help make the site a place that is safe and enjoyable for everyone who participates.
Free Speech on VTF
At VTF, we believe strongly in free speech, in having a diversity of people participating and sharing ideas that are relevant to the community. As a VTF member you are generally free to express your opinion without fear of retribution. The diversity of personalities, beliefs and styles are what we hope will make VTF a strong and vibrant community in the future. The site's administrators are committed to keeping VTF free and open to everyone. However, I will remind you of what you all agree to when you first sign up for the site:
"All are welcome to join as long as they do so in a conscientious and constructive manner. Spirited debate is encouraged, but please respect other contributors/readers."
I'll even take it one step further, adapting Tomahawk Nation's agreement to our own:
"When posting at [VTF], please follow this one simple rule: Before hitting "post" to post your remarks, ask yourself: 'Would I be embarrassed to say this in front of strangers who were physically present in the room with me and could respond to my face?"'If the answer is 'yes,' then don't post. [VTF] encourages and welcomes all opinions, no matter how strong; however, personal attacks, vulgarity, and other uncivilized forms of expression are not welcome."
Under normal circumstances I will not delete posts, and will not "censor" in any way, shape or form unless it is a blatant violation of these guidelines. However, in such cases, I reserve the right to delete posts without notice.
Since VTF IS a community, you should know that free speech does not mean the right to say what you want, when you want, how you want, without being sensitive to, and respectful towards, individuals and the community as a whole. In a community, speech is not completely free; it comes with responsibility.
The following are simply not acceptable on VTF (excepting, in some cases, for obvious humor between people with an existing rapport) and are subject to sanction as outlined below:
- Profanity is not permitted. I realize that in the heat of a game thread, occasional blue language may slip through. Please try to keep it to an absolute minimum.
- Personal attacks on community members, directly or through sarcasm/belittling, e.g., "Your [sic] an idiot", "You don't know what you’re talking about, moron", "Apparently, you've never seen a baseball game, or you'd know?", "My Chihuahua knows more about baseball than you do", etc.
- Comments that are intolerant or prejudiced (sexist, racist, homophobic, etc.) in nature, e.g., "Why don't you go play with your dolls?", "The Cougars shouldn’t recruit Hispanic players", "Doesn't Drew look like a fag?", etc.
- Harassing/Baiting of users, e.g., "How about that Unga; isn't he great?" posted five consecutive times after an Unga fumble, "The Cougars will never win this game" posted 10 times in 3 minutes, etc.
- Comments that bring politics into VTF (which is a non-political blog), e.g., "Obama/Bush/Clinton ruined this country by", "Check out this link about the war in Iraq," etc. That said, you may occasionally see a political advertisement on VTF. Running such ads does not imply an endorsement of the candidate or views expressed in the ad, just as any such ad on a television station or network or in a newspaper does not imply endorsement by such an entity. Editorial and advertising at VTF are separate, and I do not have control over advertising, with the exception of local ads which are arranged by me.
- Any inappropriate religious or theological commentary. Obviously this blog is covering an institution owned and operated by the LDS Church. However, this blog and the writings herein do not represent the university or the church. There are plenty of places online to discuss religion - this is not one of them. That said, however, there are instances when subjects like BYU's honor code or volunteer LDS missions are appropriate for discussion. For a good example, a discussion on how LDS missions affect BYU's recruiting practices is appropriate. For a bad example, a discussion on Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon should be reserved for other forums not associated with SB Nation. Capisce?
Consequences for Violating VTF's Community Guidelines
Complaints about possible violations of the Community Guidelines should be directed to site administrators for review and consideration.
We aim to balance a high tolerance for the importance of free speech and low tolerance for minor or petty complaints, with enforcement of the stated guidelines on behalf of the entire VTF community. Here is the general procedure; there may be exceptions to this, at our discretion:
If you think a violation has occurred, either contact an author, flag the post, or mention it in the thread. One of us will contact the offending user privately, either by email or by issuing a formal warning on the site. No other action will be taken. Depending on the severity of the action, we may take more serious action, including a temporary ban (i.e., asking you to stay away for a few days) or permanently banning the offending member from Vanquish the Foe.
If it seems clear to us that your primary motive is disrupting and/or upsetting specific individuals or the community as a whole, we will ban you before going through this process.
Procedure For Lodging An Official Complaint
If you believe a user has violated these guidelines and you want us to have a look at the situation, send us an email and also flag the post using the tools available on the site itself. Please include the following information:
- Your VTF user name
- The VTF user name of the user about whom you are complaining
- The URL(s) of the post(s) in question
The last part is really important – this is a busy site, and if you can direct us directly by URL to the specific post you are making a complaint about, that makes dealing with it much easier. We will try to get back to you and at least let you know we received your complaint.
Finally, please don't take any of these guidelines to mean that we are "bringing the hammer down" or any such thing. As noted above, VTF is intended to be a place for freewheeling exchange of ideas about Brigham Young University athletics and other related athletic issues. Almost anything goes, if you are respectful of others.
FanPosts and FanShots
The guidelines for posting a FanPost are:
- A FanPost must be at least 75 words long or it is considered to be unsubstantial and will not be accepted by the site.
- A FanPost must in some way belong on VTF -- in other words, it must relate to the Cougars, or to an existing thread, etc.
- You can’t post more than 2 FanPosts or FanShots (you could have two of each, though) in any given day.
- It is not permitted to use FanPosts, FanShots, comments or signatures for advertising. Anything posted in a FanPost, FanShot, comment or signature that contains commercial advertising is subject to deletion without notice.
Tips on writing good posts:
Some of the qualities that the most popular FanPosts often have in common are:
- They expand upon the main idea with supporting examples, or statistical data, or a link to a relevant article, or a "thinking question" for others to consider, etc. -- something beyond just the main idea itself. Don’t just post a large quote from an article and say "What do you think?" Post your own opinion, too.
- They explore a topic, idea, or question that has not been explored recently, or at all, at VTF. Please check both the FanPost and FanShot recent post lists to see if your topic is already being discussed.
Keep in mind that if your post contains only one point or idea that is not developed, expanded on, or supported with arguments or data, it is really not a FanPost -- it is a comment that should be posted in an existing thread, or posted as a FanShot. For more information on how to construct your posts, please see this post containing some suggestions and ideas on FanPosts and FanShots.
An overview of Posting and Commenting
Many of you have been around SB Nation well before VTF was launched last month. For those of you who are new, or still not quite acclimated to the system, this post is meant to be a guide to new members and a refresher course for power users. First, for new VTF'ers, take a look at the basic SB*Nation Welcome Guide. After that, read below for a more in-depth guide and specific expectations for Vanquish the Foe.
VTF is NOT a message board. It isn't a talk radio call-in show. We are a community of passionate BYU fans. VTF itself is a blog, one which has built a community feel to it over the last year. And unlike some blogs that talk at you, VTF offers FanPosts and FanShots where you can drive the conversation.
Follow me after the jump for an extended guide into FanPosts, FanShots and commenting.
FanShots are quick posts, links, images or videos from around the internet -- it's not just for photos, as at least one person here mentioned to me; there are several different types of things you can put in a FanShot.
When Should You Post a FanShot?
- Whenever you find a link, a quote, a video, a photo, around the internet that you think your fellow VTF'ers will enjoy.
- When you don't have any commentary to add other than your link, video, photo or quote.
- When you can't meet the 75 word minimum for a FanPost
How Do You Post a FanShot?
1. Click "New FanShot" -- Seems simple, right? While logged in, visit any page of VTFand click the handy "New FanShot" button. Enter the link or pic URL in the proper place.
2. Use the FanShot Bookmarklet -- Clicking and dragging the "Share on SB*Nation" button (which you can find here at the top of the FanShot section, right underneath the top ad bar; just click "FANSHOTS" on the front page to get there) to your bookmarks bar (the area under your address bar in your browser) will allow you to post to VTF quickly and easily while browsing the internet.
Once you have a "Share on SB*Nation" button in your browser, you have one-click posting of FanShots at your fingertips. Clicking the button will bring up a dialog box that looks like this:
Just select the type of FanShot you wish to post, apply the proper tags (more later) and hit publish (that "Front Page" check box is for me as the site admin, to put it on the front page if I choose -- you've seen the blue box posts on the front page; those are FanShots that I've posted).
FanShots are for things that aren't long enough for a full FanPost, for example, if you find a link you think is interesting but don't have anything more to add. It could be a photo you find on the internet or a link to an article that mentions BYU. You can use it to embed and post YouTube, Vimeo, (or other) videos.
FanPosts are just like front page stories, except they're written by you, the BYU reader. You can help keep the best FanPosts on the list longer by recommending them using the "Rec" link at the bottom of the post. Three recommendations puts a FanPost on the rec list.
FanPosts have to have a minimum of 75 words. If your FanPost has a paragraph that looks something like this:
words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words
... that's there just to bring it up to the minimum, then it's probably better off in the FanShot section.
Some examples of well-written and thought-out recent FanPosts on interesting topics are here and here. If I left yours out, that doesn't mean it wasn't good -- just wanted to give some quick examples.
If you have something you want to post, and it's related to a recently discussed topic -- such as Mendenhall being insulted by 2 for 1 game scheduling, or Harvey Unga's health -- please take a look at the posts on those topics first. Your thoughts, in that case, might be better as a comment under one of those posts, unless you have some sort of new angle that hasn't been posted yet on that topic. Just saying "I'm glad Unga is healthy now" wouldn't be considered a "new angle".
What makes a good FanPost?
Make It Substantial. When I say "substantial", I don't mean it has to be a dissertation or manifesto. But if you see the dreaded 75 word warning, it's either time to put some more thought into your FanPost or start over. If your post contains something like this:
words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words words
... then it's probably better as a FanShot. I will delete or consolidate Fanposts I find to be lacking in substance.
Make It Relevant. Your FanPost should relate to the Cougars or college athletics in some way. If you want to talk about the Niners or the Cowboys, there are sites on SB*Nation for that. If you want to do nothing more than post a link to your site, you're probably a spammer, and should expect your FanPost to be swiftly removed. If all you want to do is post a link to a news story or other online article or page, try a FanShot.
I don't want to completely discourage Off-Topic FanPosting, particularly during the offseason. But if you're new and if you haven't made a FanPost before, your FanPost on tennis probably isn't going to be received very well. If you do make an Off-Topic post (meaning, specifically, that it is not related to BYU in some way), please put OT: in front of your post. If your post is unworthy, I might delete it, depending of course on the level of unworthiness.
Off-topic conversations happen all the time at VTF. In some threads, half the comments wind up being off-topic. Some other SB*Nation sites have a Daily Link Dump FanPost or some other form of daily off-topic conversation. I'm not against starting something like that on VTF, but nobody has taken the lead.
Make It Timely. This is something I feel very strongly about. If the link you're posting is a day or two old, chances are it's been posted once or twice before either in the comments or FanShots (more later). Check to see if it's been posted before. Please use the search function (located at the upper right of the front page) to see if your topic has been covered in the last few days. If it has, your thoughts on that topic can and should be posted as a comment on the original post.
If you do have some breaking news, post away. Even though we try, there's no way I can be the first to hear/read/see every piece of breaking BYU news. All of our authors have real jobs that do come before SBNation. That's where you can help. See above, though; if there's a major BYU announcement or recruiting grab, and you think that you are absolutely, positively the first one to hear about it, please take a look at the post list first; someone else may have beat you to it.
Make It Coherent. You are much more likely to get someone to read your post if you follow some very simple rules:
● Use proper spelling. You're not sending a text message. There's no need 4 U 2 use "time saving" abbreviations which only lessen the value of your post. It's like writing a position paper in crayon.
● Use punctuation. You wouldn't stand up and attempt to give a speech in one breath, and you shouldn't try to make your FanPost one big sentence that never ends.
● Use multiple paragraphs. There is something about reading text on the internet that makes reading a large block of text unpleasant and occasionally difficult. The ENTER key can be your friend in comments. In posts, use the "P" button to make paragraphs; highlight the text you want in a paragraph and hit "P"; it will put the proper opening and closing tags there. Be aware that if you are copy pasting a post you have made on another site, it may not keep the same paragraph formatting when posted in a fanpost. Make sure to check this.
● Use proper formatting. You'd be amazed how much better your piece will be received if it's formatted properly. If I'm greeted by a wall of text in your FanPost, I'm probably not going to make it all the way through. Break it up. Make it more than one paragraph. Use the 'B' and 'I' buttons for bold and italic text, respectively.
The tech team at SB*Nation has built a powerful WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, which I can't tell you much about because I usually use the HTML editor (which is the default box you get if you're making a FanPost). However, if you know how to format using Microsoft Word, you can make a perfectly formatted FanPost here at VTF.
● Start by opening Word.
● Write your post completely in Word, making all your formatting adjustments there.
● Highlight and Copy your work.
● Click New FanPost
● Click the "Paste From Word" icon (upper right icon in the WYSIWYG editor)
● Paste your content into the dialog box.
Give it a Descriptive Headline -- "Question" may, in fact, be what you are posting, a question you want us to consider; but that doesn't exactly inform us what the topic is about. Your headline should be informative, above all else, with bonus points for creativity.
Poor Headline: "Jake Heaps"
Good Headline: "Jake Heaps: A promising quarterback prospect"
Poor Headline: "If you could have a pipeline"
Good Headline: "What state would you like BYU to develop a better recruiting base from?
Poor Headline: "What Do You Guys Make of This? (this is an actual FanPost headline from last week)
Good Headline: "What do you think about Gaskins' voluntary step-down on the depth chart?
To the right of the text area in both FanPosts and FanShots you'll find the area for tagging your posts, as shown in the illustration above. Tagging is important because it helps your content show up in searches and in dynamically-rendered content areas, such as on a player page or in the new "More from Vanquish the Foe" box at the bottom of each post. It helps increase your post's exposure.
Tagging is simple. Just type the topics of your post into the area cleverly labeled "tags." Use commas to separate tags, as shown above. If you type a tag that's already been used at VTF, it'll begin to autocomplete.
Players and Teams have their own dedicated area, which will help link your posts to the proper Player and Team Pages. These fields also auto complete, just begin typing the player's name and it should fill in, as shown above; I typed "J.J. Di" and J.J. DiLuigi's name appeared. When this happens, just click on the name and it'll stick with the post.
If you want to have a poll with your post -- click "Attach Poll". The options that come up are self-explanatory; just remember to save your poll when you're done. The "Attach Event" option allows you to tie your post to a specific game. Clicking the "Attach Event" button will bring up a box that lists the Cougars' past and future games -- click the drop-down box to select "completed", "upcoming" or "in progress". Clicking the Add button will make sure you post appears on the page for that specific game.
You can also use the Recommend feature on FanShots and FanPosts to put them in the Recommended lists, which moves them to the top of each section and keeps them there longer. It takes four recommendations for a FanPost and three for a FanShot to get them in the Rec lists. You can also recommend a comment -- this feature is sort of hidden, which is why a lot of people haven't used it yet; under each comment there's a link that says "Actions" -- click on that and you'll get the option to recommend a comment. A comment takes 5 recs to get it "recommended" -- if this happens, the comment turns green and gets a big star next to it. Similarly, if you want to flag a comment as inappropriate, you can do that in the same way; it takes 5 flags to turn it red and put a little flag next to it.
When you are posting, just below the post box there is a link you can click, highlighted in yellow, that says "Show Editor Help". The Editor Help will appear to the right of the posting box and has a short tutorial on how to use the editing features available here. Once you've looked through this you can click the "X" at the top right of the editor help box to restore the other options. I would encourage everyone to use the team and player name boxes; adding these to your post will create links to teams and players you mention in your posts. You can do the same for events (meaning, in general, specific games -- click on "Attach Event" when you are making a post to see how it works) and also add tags (separated by commas if you have more than one).
The basic layout of Vanquish the Foe is pretty simple: three colums, with links to various items on the left and and right sides and the primary site content down the middle. In the middle will be news items, Game Threads, game recaps, and other fun stuff like, well, this post.
One thing you may find in an article on the front page is a link that says "Continue reading this post" at the end. Be sure to click that to get to the remainder of the post (as you did with this one). If that link is not there, just click the "Comments" link to start reading the comments.
Right before the actual comments, you'll see this:
Display lets you change the view of the comments from Expanded (subjects and text) to Collapsed (just subjects are visible). You should use the EXPANDED option.
Checking the Auto-refresh box will toggle on and off the auto-refresh feature in the comments section. When checked on, new comments added to the thread will magically appear with a little note popping up in the corner with the name of the poster who made the latest comment.
Below those two boxes you'll see keyboard commands for navigating a thread. They work as follows:
- c - using the c key will take you to the first unread comment in the thread. This key does not mark a comment as read. Unread comments show up highlighted in light yellow.
- x - using the x key will mark the current comment with focus as read. This is how I typically navigate the comments, using c and x in tandem.
- z - the z key will combine the actions of c and x. One note of caution: often, if a new comment is added above the comment currently with focus (the one you're on), using z or x will actually mark that comment as read before you've read it. I suggest that whenever you see a new comment box pop up in the corner, pushing the c-button before hitting z or x to make sure you don't mark comments above your current point as read.
- r - to reply to the current comment with focus, simply press the r key and a reply box will appear. Please try to use the r key (or click "reply") when you are responding to a specific comment; this helps keep a conversation properly threaded.
When you get into the comments section, you'll see:
The subject line - the bolded area is the subject line. Clicking the subject will collapse the text below it down; click a second time to bring the text back.
Username/avatar - you can click the commenter's username or their avatar on the far right of the screen and it will take you to that person's SB*Nation profile page.
Date/time - after the username is the date/time of the comment. This is also where you will find a link for that specific comment. If you want to refer to a comment in another place, copy the link from the date of the comment and use that URL for your reference.
up - the up link only appears for comments that are a reply to another comment. Clicking up will take you to the "parent" comment to which the current comment is a reply. This is particularly useful in a long thread with many replies to a single comment.
reply - use this link to reply to that comment. Your response will be indented one level and put below the comment you reply to in order based on when responses happened.
actions - this is a special link that allows you to recommend or flag a post. When you click actions, two more links should become visible, labeled Flag and Rec:
The Flag link should be used if you find something offensive or if the commenter is being a troll or posting spam. I hope it won't be necessary to use this button too much. If you Flag a comment, nothing will be visible to you or others, but I will see it in red.
The Rec link allows you to recognize a post that you find particularly informative, useful or that you think others would like to see. At the end of the commenter's line, you'll see a rec count (e.g. 2 Recs). If a comment gets three recommendations, it will turn green and get a big asterisk (not steroid-induced) in front of it.
When it comes time for you to finally say something within a thread, you can do so via the comment box. This box is the bottom of every thread, or if you'd like to respond to a specific comment, it will magically appear when you click the reply link. As noted above, it would really help if you'd click the "reply" link if you are replying to a specific comment; this will help organize the comments in each post by thread and show each "conversation" as it develops.
Posting Images, Videos And Links In Threads
If you want to post a link in a thread, don't just copy/paste the link into the posting box. Instead, first highlight the text you want to be linkable, and then click the icon at the top of the box that looks like a link. Doing that will call up a dialogue box that looks like this:
Then, copy/paste the URL into the box. If, say, you have highlighted text that says "Click here to go to Deep Shades of Blue", and then enter "http://www.deepshadesofblue.com" into the dialogue box, you will get a clickable link that looks like this (don't put the quote marks in the box or your highlighted text):
NOTE! Please check the "Open in new window" check box, so that your links don't navigate away from your post.
For videos, if you find a YouTube video that you want to post in a thread or post (as opposed to a FanShot, where you can post it directly, using the Video tab), find the EMBED code on the YouTube page. It should look something like this:
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/qkPtAfQRLl4&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/qkPtAfQRLl4&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
Paste the above code into your post and you'll get the following video:
About posting images, we know that many of you already post images in posts and game threads. Some of these are BYU-related, of players, and some aren't. Images can greatly enhance your post and add to the information and/or enjoyment that others get. We ask only that you follow a few simple rules:
● Keep images small. When we say "small" I don't necessarily mean the physical size of the image (although smaller is generally better); I mean the file size of the image you are posting. Large file size images can slow down threads, especially game threads. We ask for people to keep images in game threads to a minimum. I reserve
● Keep images clean. They need to be Safe for Work (SFW). Just as I don't want profanity on VTF, we don't want images that you wouldn't want to be seen viewing at work, or around your kids.
Thanks for reading this long and detailed post. If you can put some of these suggestions into your own posts and comments, they'll look better and you're more likely to get many more people reading them.